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Brief Published: 21 Jan 2021

Reinventing the High Street: Bike Parks & Hourly Pop-Ups

Tackling the over-supply of retail space in city centres, exacerbated by brands that have become casualties of the pandemic, new initiatives have sprung up aimed at reinvigorating high streets in the wake of punishing lockdowns. From pop-ups rented by the hour to free cycling parks in premium retail destinations, we profile two of the most noteworthy.

Ultra-Flexible Hourly Rates Revive Ailing High Streets

British platform Sook allows tenants to rent space for retail pop-ups, product launch events and community-centric meetings on an hourly basis. This furthers the approach to flexible spaces demonstrated by brands including fellow UK destination rental platform Appear Here and US mall operator Macerich (see Redefining the Department Store).

Sook currently has four sites across London, Cambridge and Edinburgh, with another 49 in the pipeline, predominantly in the UK but with several in Europe. Offering a full-service approach, ultra-flexible fit-outs, complete with staff, are combined with digital analytics. Spaces can be booked on a one-off or recurring basis; prices are dependent on location and time.  

Tenants, ranging from multinationals Amazon and Nike to community groups, design their chosen layout remotely on Sook’s client platform by navigating a 3D rendering of the space. Afterwards, analytics demonstrating how well a space has performed. Heat mapping and foot level cameras are used to determine dwell time and approximate visitor demographic (deduced from their footwear).

The rising appetite for pop-ups is apparent in premium locations across the globe, from New York to Hong Kong, as landlords look to recover lost revenues.

Luxe Bike Parks Lure Consumers to City Centres

Attempting to revive previously high footfall areas, central London retail locations including Oxford Street are now home to premium bike parks, with bikes valet-parked and e-bikes charged at no extra cost. British business Bike-Drop allows members to buy three-hour ‘Dash’, daily, weekly or monthly passes, with prices roughly equating to London transport passes. Riders register for a pass online and show a QR code on arrival.

With consumers highly likely to avoid crowded communal transport even as vaccines are rolled out, and with eco-ethical awareness at an all-time high, such concepts should rise in popularity as lockdowns begin to wind down.

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